With just over half the season gone, Kieron Freeman has scored six goals, five of them from inside the six-yard box.
How unusual is it for a full back or wing back to score so often? United’s regular right back in the immediate post-war years was Darnall lad Fred Furniss. Entrusted with penalties, Fred missed just two of 17. In 1950/51 he scored five goals, all penalties, and two seasons later scored four more penalties as United won the Second Division championship.
It took until the late 1980s for a full back to match Fred’s feat, and he did it without penalties. This was Martin Pike, in the 1988/89 promotion season. His first career goal at Blackpool saw careering round the pitch like a madman, but over the next few months he got used to the feeling. He got two at Notts County and then scored against Blackpool again and Swansea City. These were the only goals of his career.
Five seasons later Kevin Gage also scored five times and, like Pike, his were usually spectacular ones. Gage memorably scored twice in the crazy 6-3 win at Luton Town, and earlier scored in consecutive games against Stoke City and Bristol City. He still lives locally, running a pub in Dronfield, and working as a match-day host for United,
Now we come to the only United full back before Freeman to score six in a season. In the 2011/12 season Matt Lowton proved what a good player he was, regularly appearing in the box to score with both foot and head, and in the 5-2 win at Notts County he hit a cracking low shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards. His sale to the Premier League after United failed to go up was no surprise, and now he’s doing pretty well at Burnley.
So, Freeman has just under half a season to become the most prolific full back in United’s history. He might never become a Kyle Walker or even a Lowton, but he’s doing just fine and hopefully can prove himself at a higher level next season.